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WhatsApp Business
7 min read

WhatsApp Business: What is it and how do I use it?

WhatsApp Business, built with small businesses in mind, is a free solution that streamlines leads, sales and every interaction with prospects and customers through the popular messenger service. 

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is a free-to-download messaging app available on Android and iPhone, designed to help small business owners personally connect with their customers.

As the world’s most popular messaging channel, with 2 billion active daily users, sending more than 100 billionmessages each day, it was no surprise when Facebook (the developers behind WhatsApp) expanded the WhatsApp platform to include a business application in 2018.

Built with small businesses in mind, this free solution streamlines leads, sales and essentially every interaction with prospects and customers.

01:32

Video: The Future of Business Messaging

by WhatsApp

Let’s start to paint the picture by showing you WhatsApp’s Future of Business Messaging video – then we’ll dive into the details. The video demonstrates how easy it is for WhatsApp users to browse a business’s Catalogue in a chat, adding items to their cart, placing an order and getting quick responses to questions:

Why should I use WhatsApp business?

There are many benefits to using WhatsApp Business. Click the dropdowns below to find out more. 

  • Reach a wide audience

    WhatsApp has 2 billion users and continues to rank as the most popular app in the UK. It is one of the few apps to be downloaded over five billion times on Android and iOS.

  • Direct customer engagement

    Customers base their loyalty on customer experience over price and product. Providing quality customer experience needs to be prioritised if you’re looking to grow.

  • Mobile messages are effective

    They have incredible open rates of 98%-! (To put this in context, email is 20%-!) It’s a more effective way to establish direct, long term connections with your customers.

  • Boost conversion rate and increase customer satisfaction by reacting faster to customer requests.

    Encourage sales by quickly answering any questions during the purchase cycle.

  • Customer convenience

    Most people open their messenger apps several times per day. WhatsApp is the easiest, most convenient way for your customers to get in touch with you because it’s already part of their daily habits.

  • Increased professionalism

    WhatsApp Business verifies you as a service provider, helping you to increase trust amongst your customers, while also enabling a slick way to liaise directly without having to do so from your personal phone number.

  • Increased visibility

    You’ll get your own business profile, which personalises the brand experience and guarantees a consistent perception of your brand across your channels.

  • Easier for customers to browse your products

    Upload your products to a Catalogue rather than manually linking out to your website. You can send these as attachments within your direct messages with customers.

  • Easy to use

    WhatsApp Business is almost identical to WhatsApp – the only real difference you’ll notice is the Business Settings section that gives you the additional functionality.

  • Slick integration with Facebook and Instagram

    You can link your WhatsApp Business account with a Facebook Page and/or Instagram Profile to give your customers an additional way to communicate with your business. When you link your Facebook Page or Instagram Profile with your WhatsApp Business account, your number will show up as a contact option on the linked Facebook Page and/or Instagram Profile. When a customer taps on this contact option, they can message you directly on WhatsApp.

  • Grow your audience

    There are lots of ways you can grow your audience through WhatsApp Business:

    • While you can’t push messages to contacts that don’t have your business number stored in their phone, you can encourage communication on this platform by putting a WhatsApp button on your website, so customers can quickly start a conversation with you.
    • Another common tactic is to offer something of value such as a discount code, a freebie or a valuable piece of information in exchange for their phone number. Use the automated messages function to send your promo offer straight away to encourage engagement, but do try to personalise and engage with customers as you go so you can begin building those important relationships.
    • You can also generate new business while keeping in touch with prospects via the app’s ‘broadcast list’ feature, which enables you to build a list of contacts, which you can message in one go e.g. a promotion. Any replies get sent to you and you can liaise directly from there. (Do note however that you can only send broadcast messages to customers who have opted in and are aware of your privacy policy.)

What are the key features of WhatsApp Business?

Click the dropdowns below to find out more about the key features of WhatsApp Business. 

  • Business profile

    A place to provide essential business information to help your customers, such as your address, business description, email address, telephone number and website. WhatsApp also adds a ‘Verified’ badge next to your company name once it’s confirmed that it’s a verified business account, helping your business account gain trust from customers. It’s quick and easy to set up.

  • Quick replies

    Constantly answering the same customer questions? Quick replies let you save and reuse messages you frequently send, so you can easily answer FAQs in no time. Simply press the “/” on your keyboard to select a quick reply keypad shortcut (which you set up within Business Tools) then all you need to do is send it! E.g. “/ty”.

  • Automatic greeting message

    Create a greeting message that users will receive when they first start chatting with your company, or whenever they message you after 14 days of inactivity in their chat with you. By sending an instant message, you welcome and introduce your company to a new potential customer with no delays and waiting time. For example:

    • “Hello! We wanted to let you know we received your message and will be in touch before we close at [time].”
    • “Season’s greetings! Our elves are very busy packing all of the gifts, so we may not reply as fast as you are used to from us. Please bear with us – we will get back to you as soon as we can.”
    • “Thanks for opting in to receive messages from us! We’d like to offer you a 20% discount as a thank you for keeping in touch. Simply use the code XXXX at checkout.”
  • Setting an away message

    Send a custom message to customers who are trying to connect with your company outside of working hours. It’s a great way to manage expectations rather than customers receiving radio silence. You can write a custom message or send your working hours, which can be set up to go out at a chosen time/time frame.

  • Label contacts

    Keeping track of every business conversation can be challenging. Organise your contacts by categorising them via labels for quick access.

  • Catalogues and Collections

    Help customers find the products and services they’re looking for by showcasing them via Catalogues and Collections.

    • For Catalogue items, you can add information including a description, price and product code. Each catalogue entry includes a direct link to the product on your website, which can be shared with customers directly in a message.
    • Collections act as folders to group and organise items within a business account. Users can now view a category quickly rather than scrolling through a lengthy product list.
  • Interactive business messages

    Include interactive and more appealing buttons to your messages. There are two types – a CTA (Call To Action) button, which can be used to attach a phone number or a website page. The second is a ‘quick reply’, which allows users to answer from predefined options without having to type their answer manually. Interactive buttons in messages are much more convenient for your customers. By improving your customer journey, you’re encouraging better engagement.

  • List messages and reply buttons

    List messages enable up to 10 options for people to select from, while reply buttons let customers quickly choose from up to three options.

  • Access message statistics

    Review vital statistics that can help you adapt your future messaging by seeing how many of your messages were sent, delivered and read.

  • Facebook Shops integration

    This allows you to create customised shopping experiences across the Facebook family of apps including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. For example, by connecting your WhatsApp business account with your Facebook Page, you can run ads that click to WhatsApp. These ads let you connect with customers when they click on a ‘Send Message’ button on your Facebook or Instagram ads to start a conversation in WhatsApp.

What’s the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API (Application Programming Interface) isn’t an app you can download, but a means by which developers can develop on the WhatsApp platform. This is geared more towards mid-to-larger sized businesses, as it makes it easy to communicate with customers at scale. The API allows you to customise the app, add new features and integrate with other services – it’s a process that requires strong technical skills, or the budget to outsource the development work.

As it’s not overly relevant to smaller businesses, we’ll skip the deep dive but there are some fantastic sources available online for more information if you’d like to find out more.

GDPR and WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp business is an opt-in only platform – you can’t message customers that have not given you permission to message them from your WhatsApp Business account. Ensure you’re complying with your GDPR responsibilities at all times. 

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